Some people have problems digesting milk protein or milk
sugar (lactose intolerance). But these problems are very rare
in babies. Until your doctor can evaluate your baby, it is usually not
advisable to switch formula or stop breast-feeding as a means to remedy
suspected food digestion problems.
majority of babies diagnosed with
colic do not have health problems that affect
digestion. But many things can cause some
degree of abdominal gas, which can make crying worse.
Causes of gas
Swallowing air when sucking. A baby may swallow
excess air during bottle-feeding if he or she drinks too rapidly or is lying
down or if the nipple has holes that are too big. If you bottle-feed your baby,
use nipples with holes large enough to drip cold formula at 1 drop each second.
For more information, see the topics Breast-Feeding and Bottle-Feeding.
Swallowing air when crying. A baby who cries for an
extended period of time, especially if the crying is intense, can swallow extra air.
Position. Babies may trap intestinal gas while
lying on their backs. Babies should always sleep on their backs to reduce the risk for
sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But when your
baby is awake, you may help prevent or relieve some belly discomfort by
holding your baby upright or allowing some "tummy time" while you closely
Improper feeding. Giving
certain foods to your baby may lead him or her to have excess gas. If the
doctor thinks your baby's food is a source of gas, he or she may recommend a
change in what you are feeding your child.
Wait to give your baby cow's milk until he
or she is 12 months of age. Cow's milk protein can be hard for a baby's body to
break down. And cow's milk has less iron and vitamins than babies need.
Many babies younger than 4 months of age can't digest the starch
Juice may cause a baby to have excess gas. If you choose to give your child juice, it's best to wait until he or she is at least 6 months old and to give only a small amount.
Use the proper position during feeding. Feed your
baby in a partially upright position, and put him or her in a baby seat for
about 15 to 30 minutes after feeding. Be sure to burp your baby during and
Massage your baby. Lay your baby on his or her
abdomen across your lap and massage his or her back after feeding.
If your child's doctor suggests medicine to reduce gas,
use it exactly as prescribed.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.